“Lucky Larry” would be a fitting nickname for this sweet-faced marmalade-and-cream boy – or maybe “blessed” is more appropriate.

Under other circumstances, Larry’s luck might have run out as soon as he tested positive for FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), which compromises the immune system. Once infected with FIV, a cat has the condition for life and can transmit the virus via deep bite wounds. Although most FIV+ cats can live for many years (like our Nickey, going strong at age 20), there are a host of misconceptions swirling around about the condition, and Larry could have been euthanized immediately if he’d fallen into uninformed hands.

Fortunately, Larry had the blessing of befriending a very kind veterinarian, who took him in and cared for him in her office. Larry had a safe, warm life with his veterinarian friend, but she knew that he deserved better than living in a crate, having to face the many visiting dogs who frightened him, and, most of all, going without a forever home. So, she was thrilled when gentle Larry’s turn came up on the Tabby’s Place waiting list.

We’re thrilled to have this sweet soul with us, too. While our FIV+ suite is generally the land of the giants, with XXXL sweeties like Fuzzy and Dusty, Larry is a sleek little fellow. Matching his diminutive size is Larry’s demure nature. But although he’s not the most gregarious guy in the room, there’s no overlooking such a sweetie-pie as our Larry. He’s not the first cat to approach you when you visit Suite FIV, but sit quietly for a few minutes, and he’s likely to make you his new friend for life. Larry1.jpg

It’s especially delightful to see Larry enjoying life and cuddle-time so much after having seen him struggling in pain not long ago. Shortly after Larry’s arrival, we realized that he was in excruciating pain in his mouth. Our vet determined that Larry has severe stomatitis, an auto immune disease of the gums and lining of the mouth and throat, which is usually treated with steroids and dental extractions. Although Larry was already nearly-toothless when he came to Tabby’s Place, his stomatitis is so severe that the inflamed roots remaining at the back of his mouth were causing him intense agony. He’d duck his cute head fearfully when we reached to pet him, afraid that even the friendliest touch might hurt his aching mouth. Larry’s situation was so dire that we needed to send him to the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School, where he received state-of-the-art treatments. Larry2.jpg

Happily, Larry now seems to be pain-free, and his sweet nature continues to blossom as he feels more confident each day. Larry and his FIV+ suitemates receive frequent examinations from our medical team, and are fed a higher-quality (and more expensive) diet than our other cats, in hopes of boosting their immune systems. The FIV+ cats at Tabby’s Place are monitored carefully for any signs of sickness, and we’re especially vigilant about disease control procedures in their suite. Other than his FIV, Larry is in good health, and doesn’t currently require any medication for his history of dental drama (although it’s possible he may need a steroid to control the inflammation at some point).Given Larry’s sweet-as-pudding personality and his general good health, we’re hopeful that our special boy will find his forever family before long. However, we know that his FIV+ status means he’ll likely have a longer sojourn at Tabby’s Place than the average cat. Please befriend this gentle soul and help us to care for him by becoming his sponsor.